In classrooms all around the world, teachers wonder how to inspire the disengaged student. What has caused them to become disengaged, is it our practice, their personal lives, social pressures, a learning disability? What can we do to engage them in the practice of learning? These are all signs of an educator, thinking, planning, acting, reflecting, repeat. However, I think we have a more challenging problem out there, that if solved may indirectly increase the success of our task to inspire learning in more students…the disengaged educator!
I bet right now you can come up with visuals for educators who have forgotten why they entered the profession. The ones that simply show up to do their “job”, who mock any sort of new teaching strategy, who choose to spend their time complaining about the students they teach, or how technology is ruining society. I am also willing to bet that you have fallen victim to their complaining, unwillingly been led into a conversation about the state of education that you may not even feel is true, or generalizations about students as a whole that left you uneasy and angry at yourself for joining in the negativity.
There is nothing more frustrating to me than being surrounded by educators who have hit a low point in their career. Those teachers who constantly complain about student achievement, poor behaviour, and attendance issues. Those same teachers who refuse to believe that any of the issues stem from their practice in any way. I’m guilty of bad days, negative experiences with students and a sense of despair, but I let these serve as reminders of why I became an educator and the need for me to constantly learn to become a better for the sake of our students. Now how do I influence others in this tough spot how to pick up and move forward?
How do I inspire those teachers stuck in the middle of the cycle, who instead of reflecting on and refining their practice have instead are stuck on repeat, delivering lessons that don’t inspire, to students who aren’t engaged, backed by the offhand comments of other teachers that teaching just isn’t how it used to be. How do we show these teachers the amazing connections that exist thanks to technology, that collaboration is the lifeblood of the teaching profession, and that students still require the best we have to give them!
I’m open to any suggestions you may have, however unrealistic they may seem. If I’ve learned anything over the past few years, it is that together we are better. Together we can ignite change!